When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

19 November, 2012

Heresy of the Week: Swedenborgianism

This week's heresy is a new one to my list.  I discovered it listening to Table Talk Radio (I can't remember which episode, if I can find it, I'll link it).  It's a newer heresy.  It seems a very weird blend of Gnosticism, Pelagianism and Eastern Mysticism to me.  And yes, even Lutherans can go bad (see my previous post for comments on Pietism).  As much as I needle other denominations, I think it's both important and only fair that I air our faults as well.

Swedenborgianism, also known as the Church of the New Jerusalem, is an 18th century heresy founded by Emanuel Swedenborg. Formerly a Lutheran and a scientist, Swedenborg (like Joseph Smith) claimed a revelation from God that revealed secret knowledge to him (Gnosticism). Like Sabellianism, Swedenborg taught that God only existed in one ‘mode’ or form now: Jesus. Swedenborg’s soteriology said that believer’s had full cooperation in their salvation process (Pelagianism), and that strict obedience to commands (Legalism) is necessary for salvation. It was taught that Swedenborg was witness to the Last Judgment, and that the New Church of the Jerusalem was the result of the Last Judgment already being complete. Followers believe that all who do good, even non-believers, will be acceptable to God and taken to Heaven (God is goodness, therefore those who do good join themselves to God). Swedenborg taught that the church should be based on charity and love, not belief and doctrine.


Roland Hulme said...

"Swedenborg taught that the church should be based on charity and love, not belief and doctrine."

It's kind of depressing how organized religion found this concept so terrifying and "heretical."

Sarah Marie Arnold said...

They key is excluding belief and doctrine. All are important elements, but to leave some out or focus on some to the exclusion of others is where the problem lies.